Letting Characters Write Their Own Endings

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You’re writing along. Things are going pretty well. And then the unthinkable happens.

Your character doesn’t want to cooperate. He doesn’t want to die or lose the battle or watch as someone else “gets the girl.”

And, you say to yourself, “Just who does he think he is? I created him. I gave him thoughts, ideas, friends, goals, depth. Who is he to tell me here, in Chapter Nineteen—at the climax of the story—that he doesn’t agree with the way I’ve written it?”

I feel your pain. No, really I DO because it just happened to me.

My main character and I are having a meeting of the minds…a war of the words. 

He’s going to win.

I know it. I just know it.

Because he’s REAL. 

He’s lived and breathed life into this story for nine months. 

Who better to tell me how things should end?

In order to change the outcome, it will be necessary for me to go back to Chapter Fifteen and start rewriting.

So, I yell out to him, “Why did you wait until now to tell me this? Couldn’t you have clued me in a little sooner?”

He just laughs and tells me to get back to work.

Get Cranking!

So, you get your submission back from your critique group. They have a few “suggestions” for improvement.

Your manuscript is returned from your editor with hundreds of “red lines”. A major rewrite is in order.

Your Beta Readers are less than enthusiastic about the plot or characters in your latest book. You need to tear it apart and see where it went wrong.

Negative comments are inevitable, but we cannot let them devastate us as writers. When you get them, first “consider the source”. Then, if the source is credible and the person is someone you respect, spend as little time as possible wallowing in despair.

I say: “get cranking.” Learn what you need to learn; do what you need to do. Use all of that pent up frustration in the direction of making improvements.

Oh, to be sure, we love those positive comments that make us feel successful, but it’s those negatives that can really light the fire under us. They have the power to propel us to greatness if we turn them around and view them as positives.

We can even learn to be thankful for them, because they are the ones that stretch us as  writers and spur us on to learn and grow in our craft!

If we allow ourselves to be devastated by negatives, we will soon find ourselves deep in a black hole of gigantic proportions, stagnated and unable to ever face the computer keyboard again.

When riders are thrown from a horse, the best advice they receive is to get back in the saddle as soon as possible. As writers, that “horse” may look like a harmless chair on rollers. But, here’s the point:

Don’t let negatives define you.

Use them to your advantage and

Get Cranking!